Secret Service Scandal Prompts Colombia to Consider Regulating Prostitution

The Secret Service sex scandal may wind up giving Colombian prostitutes greater legal protections.

Conservative Senator Armando Benedetti proposed a bill to regulate prostitution Monday, after the Secret Service sex scandal called attention to the lack of government oversight in the sex worker industry.

“This law that will regulate sex work in this country aims to guarantee labor rights and public health,” Benedetti said Monday, according to El Espectador.

Though it’s not clear whether such a measure would pass, Benedetti isn’t the only politician calling for more oversight.

“We all know that prostitution is not an illegal activity and we have to regulate it,” said Liberal Senator Juan Fernando Cristo, according to El Espectador. “It’s an obligation of the state that, until now, hasn’t been fulfilled.”

The prostitution proposal has its naysayers.

The Catholic Church remains opposed to prostitution despite its legality in Colombia and Monseñor Fabián Marulanda condemned sex work.

“The people should be the ones who understand what is good and what is bad, without waiting for others—whether they be congressmen or magistrates or whoever—to dictate it to them,” Marulanda said.

Though prostitution is legal in Colombia, it is not regulated by the government, either.

The proposal comes just days after Dania Suárez, the prostitute at the center of the Secret Service sex scandal, spoke openly to Colombian media for the first time, giving a televised interview to La W on Friday.

Secret Service agents allegedly contracted prostitutes during a night of heavy drinking ahead of President Obama’s trip last month to Cartagena, Colombia, to attend the Summit of the Americas. The fiasco became public after Suárez argued with a Secret Service agent over her payment in a hallway of the Caribe Hotel, prompting local law enforcement to intervene on the call girl’s behalf.

Eight Secret Service agents were forced out of their jobs over the scandal. A ninth lost his security clearance and will also likely leave the agency.

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